A computer or mobile application service level agreement allows you to create and manage your service level agreements with ease. Service level agreements, or SLAs, are documents that detail commitments between customers and service providers.

Understanding Service Level Agreements

Services outlined in an SLA include tasks the providers perform and complete in order to fulfill a customer's needs. Commitments refer to responsibilities providers must meet to hold up their end of the agreement. While SLA applications exist at the system level, you can confine them to the organization so only internal users can view the documents. Unless you specify values for the site and organization, anyone who has access can view your SLA.

After creating a service level agreement using an application, you can:

  • Associate contracts
  • Create escalations
  • Change the SLA
  • Change its status
  • Create performance indicators

You can also perform the following functions:

  • Rank SLAs according to precedence
  • Set an effective start, end, and review date for each SLA
  • Associate contracts with the agreement
  • Associate related SLAs with an existing SLA
  • Associate locations and assets with an SLA
  • Create key metrics and performance indicators
  • Create escalations to support SLA commitments

SLA application users can apply valid agreements to records across applications. For instance, a service desk user with appropriate permissions can apply an SLA to work order or ticket applications as needed.

Examples of SLA Escalations

An SLA escalation function allows you to manage and meet service commitments. The function automatically monitors important processes and can, when required, monitor multiple SLAs with different escalation points.

For example, say you have an SLA with a customer. The SLA contains two commitments, each with its own escalation point. The primary commitment is to respond to incidents related to the email server within a two-hour timeframe. The escalation point would be to notify a supervising manager if no response has been issued within one hour.

The second commitment may involve resolving incidents related to the server issue within five hours. The escalation point for this commitment would be to check the status of the server at the two-hour mark.

Incidents that are still open can be reassigned to the supervisor to escalate their completion and meet the SLA commitments.

The Importance of Using an SLA Application

Talking about aligning IT initiatives with business objectives is one thing, but it's another to deliver on commitments. Application-specific service level agreements make delivery easier for everyone involved.

Market research suggests that implementing business-centric applications for service level agreements is beneficial. Traditional SLAs focus on more narrow aspects, while an application-based SLA provides a comprehensive experience. That's because modern businesses run on applications and other software.

Rather than implement an SLA application when making major IT changes, start with a solid SLA program in place. Having an existing application allows your business to accumulate performance data that can help with marketing and sales efforts down the road.

Principal elements of a successful SLA application include:

  • Service objectives
  • Formal thresholds
  • A score or measurement of system performance in relation to objectives
  • Service goals
  • Conditions in which the SLA is no longer in effect, such as system maintenance
  • Consequences for failing to meet commitments or failing behind goals

How to Build Better SLAs to Improve Strategic Applications

Service level agreements must deliver real-life results. An SLA is a contract defining a service provider's expected performance, but it alone cannot guarantee success when outsourcing maintenance work and application development. Fortunately, there are many tools available to help IT companies with outsourcing.

For starters, you should have a solid SLA in place for any outsourced maintenance or application developments. The SLA should translate into business and accountability results, not just look good on paper. SLAs are essential to application development deals, but it's important to note that they're not the only tool available to help reach and manage the agreement.

An SLA will help manage service delivery, but it cannot replace organization responsibilities or act as a surrogate manager for the relationship. To meet the outlined SLA, the service provider must invest in the right tools and processes and deploy the appropriate resources required by the agreement.

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